Monday, December 24, 2012

The Answer to Christmas: Happy

"Why does Santa bring gifts to children on Christmas?"

This was the question that was the basis for a cartoon program I was watching with one of my boys the other day. The question took me a bit by surprise at first since this was a secular, non-religious show. But then as I watched the program I saw where the story line was going and it made sense.

Well, it made sense from a secular stand point. It holds an empty message from a Christian perspective.

I'll skip over the details, but basically the main characters in the show, a set of four kids, find Santa who tells them that he loves making and giving gifts to people. It makes him "happy." As it turns out the answer to the question from the beginning of the show is "Happy." So why does Santa bring children gifts on Christmas? It makes him happy.

Really? That's it?

I know I'm crazy for analyzing a children's cartoon, but here it goes anyway. First of all the "answer" doesn't really answer the question. "Why on Christmas?" is how I heard this question. Giving gifts (or anything nice and unexpected, for that matter) often makes the giver happy and the giftee happy (presumably). It feels good to give gifts. I don't want to belittle the message this show was trying to convey, it was a good message for kids. However, it still falls short.

Christmas is so much more than just giving gifts to our loved ones. As Christians we know this. We recognize this day as the day God gave the human race the greatest gift ever, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It's not just an arbitrary day to give gifts to make us all happy.

I don't expect a secular TV show to get into the religious purpose of Christmas, but it still left me a bit empty.

I guess my take away from this was that I'm glad to be a Christian and to recognize a higher purpose for Christmas. Specifically, I'm glad to be a Catholic where we follow a liturgical calendar that places Christmas into a logical place in the year along with all the other feast days and memorials in the Church.

It's too bad some TV programs go out of their way to try to do a Christmas show without bringing in the actual purpose for Christmas. It just leaves an empty feeling instead of the "happy" feeling they were going for.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today on Catholic Sistas: Be Vigilant

I have a new post up today at Catholic Sistas. Once again I am using my background as a musician as a jumping off point in an attempt to make an analogy to the spiritual life. Here's a quick excerpt, see what you think:

Normally, I’m not a big fan of listening to Mass on the radio. Most of the time though I leave it on anyway and try to listen and get something out of the readings and the homily. Recently I left work early and when got in my car the mid-day Mass was just beginning. I almost turned the station but stopped instead as my ears listened carefully to the opening hymn being sung. I couldn't help but notice that as each verse was sung the tempo got slower and slower. By the end of the hymn it was dreadfully slow compared to where it had started.

As a musician I can tell you exactly why this happened. And it is very common. I bet we've all experienced it at some point. I've experienced this phenomenon at churches, in processions, in parades and on the football field (think marching band), and in large groups of singers with no leader to keep the tempo. Sound actually travels pretty slowly. It’s why you see the lightning before you hear the thunder (unless the storm is right over you). Without a leader or some sort of tempo-keeper singers and musicians start listening to each other. Because sound travels slowly, things start to slow down.

Go on over to Catholic Sistas to read the whole story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Encounter

Not too sure.

Scared of the big man with the beard and the gifts.

It might be in the box, but Ethan knows what it's supposed to do.

The boys with their new Thomas/Percy trains.
Thanks, Santa!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Say

Life with toddlers ... not much explanation needed. Tuesday at dinner I found myself saying:
"Stop dancing on the spinach."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Keeping Busy, Keeping it Real

The blog has kind of gotten away from me the last week plus. If you've been following the Saturday Smiles posts you know that I've fallen down on the job the last two weeks. I do plan to continue those posts, but sometimes life gets busy.

Busy. Ack! I hate that word. I especially hate using it as an excuse. Everyone's busy. My time isn't any more valuable than anyone else's.

Regardless, things have been a bit crazy. At times like these it is the blog that falls by the wayside. But I'm not giving up, I'm just taking a break and may be blogging a little less from now until the New Year. We'll see, I'm not making any promises.

Right now, my focus (after God, family, and work) is getting through a retreat weekend that is coming up soon. I'm not attending the retreat but I am one of the people working in the background to make it happen. It's also my last retreat to work on, I'm rotating off the group and handing the reins off to someone else. I don't know who that someone else is yet, though. If you could say a prayer that we find someone to replace me and that this next retreat weekend is successful, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

After all that, I am obligated to do two posts in December for Catholic Sistas. One is already started and I'm working on it this week. The second is totally up in the air. Anyone have any ideas for me?

Oh, and then there is this holiday coming up. I can't even think about it yet. I have no idea what I'm getting for my boys for Christmas this year. Hubby and I did decide that we are not doing gifts for each other, but instead we're buying a new TV for our family room. One thing decided!

Finally, I am thinking about adding a couple of things to the blog. I hesitate a bit to do this because the blog is already a bit busy looking. I have two things in mind and may do it as pages at the top rather than adding more stuff to the side bars. The first is a list of my current prayer intentions (thanks to priest's wife for the idea); the second is a list of what I am currently reading. I think both ideas would be good for me to have to keep track of these things. Might as well share it with my readers too.

So that's what's going on with me. I'll be here on and off during the next month and hope to be back blogging regularly in January. I miss it, it's a good outlet for my desire to write. And because I like sharing fun things here too, I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did:

From Catholic Memes on Facebook

Have a wonderful Advent and Christmas!! I'll post when I can.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Brother Knows Birthdays

A certain search engine truly does know everything!

That just makes me laugh!

Happy Birthday to me. :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, it's a beautiful day here!

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 50


~1~

I had a few friends over for a prayer group meeting on Tuesday evening. We hadn't gotten together in several months! So it was great to catch up and share what we've all been doing in our prayer lives, what we're currently reading or studying to help us become better Christians, and how we are evangelizing others through how we live our lives. At the end as we started gathering our stuff my friend C says to me, "Oh, I have maternity clothes in the car for you." Okay, I said I'd go out with her and grab them. Then I notice my friend S looking a little surprised and she says, "Wait, do you need them?" She thought maybe someone had inadvertently spilled the beans.

Haha! No, no, I do not need the maternity clothes. C was returning them to me, she had borrowed them during her last pregnancy. We all had a good laugh at that one.

~2~

We bought a carpet for the boys' bedroom. Our house is all hardwood floors and since moving in we've bought one area rug for the living room. We have been wanting something for the boys' room for a long time ans we finally did it. It got delivered Wednesday night during dinner. So after dinner, we put the boys in the playroom and we go up to roll out the carpet. It took us a while to line it up with the pad underneath, but we finally got it. Taking the boys up later was an interesting site. They were fascinated by this softness under their feet. It was funny to watch their reactions! Ethan loved it and kept laying down and putting his face down into the carpet. He also did a lot more crawling than he has done in a long time. And then he discovered that the hard floor was still there on either end, which led to him crawling to one side to see the hard floor and turning around and crawling back to the other to feel the hard floor on the other side. He was so silly!

~3~

What was even funnier was that Ethan immediately laid down on the carpet Thursday morning when I got him out of bed. I think he loves his new carpet.

~4~

I've fallen behind on blogging recently mostly because of perpetual sickness in our home. First Peter was sick, then I wasn't feeling well, then Ethan got sick, then we had an appointment with the allergist who also diagnosed ear infections in both boys, then I got sick again. Through all of this Hubby has remained relatively healthy. He woke up one morning with a frog in his throat causing his voice to sound an octave too low, but he otherwise feels fine. At the moment, he's fine, the boys seem to be back to normal, and I'm (hopefully) shaking off the last of whatever this is. I'm just so tired of being sick!

~5~

On a more positive note: I bought my first Christmas gift of the year this week! It's a gift for my goddaughter. I'm so excited to give it to her. 

~6~

Next week is Thanksgiving! I love this holiday. The pretty fall colors, the cool air, being surrounded by family, the warmth of good food. Most important of all, an entire holiday to give thanks to God for all of our blessings. What could possibly be better than that! 

This year we're having some people over to our house for the holiday. Adults and kids included, we'll number about 13. What are you doing for the holiday? Also, tell me what one dish you must have at your Thanksgiving dinner?

~7~

In just a couple short days I will be celebrating another birthday. I am not one to hide my birthday or my age. I think we should all be proud of our years no matter how many or how few they are. I'll be 38 this coming Sunday. We'll be celebrating with a breakfast date on Saturday morning while Ethan's godmother comes over to watch the boys and her own two children. I hope she'll survive four kids at once: ages 3, 17 months (my boys), and 5 months. She is such an awesome friend!

Happy Thanksgiving!!
For more Quick Takes, head over to Conversion Diary by soon-to-be reality TV star Jen Fulwiler.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I am Pro-Life: Reason #3

This is part 3 of a series of four parts on why I am Pro-Life. I have not always been pro-life and I hope my witness can be of interest to others who are on the fence, do not have a strong opinion, or feel that there are some cases in which abortion should be allowed. I hope this series can be of help for anyone questioning the pro-choice agenda. If you have not yet read the previous parts of this series you may want to refer to part one and part two.

In part two of this series I spoke about the passion of pro-lifers and how that caught my attention as a lackadaisical pro-choicer. I also alluded to the actions these people took in an effort to combat the injustices they saw in our society. This goes hand-in-hand with this next post.

Reason #3 why I am pro-life: I saw passion put into action, not just talk.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lots of people talk about lots of things lots of the time. And then they keep talking and after a while you stop listening. If you are trying to convince someone of your side of an argument, idea, or topic, talking about it incessantly to him or her will not get the desired results. People stop listening.

But when we act out our belief system in a way that makes a statement ... wow. That can speak volumes!

I had listened and I had witnessed the passion. If that had been it I might still be on the fence. But that wasn't it. I was suddenly more aware of the actions of people who believed in this cause:

  • I saw the pro-life booth set up along side booths selling food, selling crafts, promoting politicians, etc.  on Main Street during a downtown event.
  • I became aware of the people who prayed outside the abortion clinic in my town and was amazed that people did that.
  • I found out that there were pregnancy helps centers who were eager for donations and people I knew were volunteering with them, collection donations, donating needed items and money, and so much more.
  • I learned about Priests for Life and other organizations which I had never known existed before.
  • I also met lots of families who had adopted or wanted to adopt; some in real life, some through their stories shared in blog posts, articles, and other media. 
  • And I learned about the March for Life in DC and the many other marches and events held around the country all near the anniversary of Roe v Wade
Many of these actions were contrary to what I had been led to believe from the pro-choice movement. The pro-choice movement likes to throw it in the face of the pro-life movement that they only want to save the baby but have no interest in helping the mother. And yet there are pregnancy help centers all over the place. Pro-choicers like to point fingers and say things like, "Are you going to take this baby?" as if pro-lifers have no interest in the child. And yet I knew tons of people who had adopted babies, who wanted to adopt, or were willing to adopt. I saw people actually doing something. This was very much unlike anything I expected to find.

Let's also look at the March for Life. Once I learned about this amazing event and saw the numbers of people nation-wide who participated I was stunned. And that is probably an understatement. Now, I will admit that I am not an avid news reader, but I like to think that I pay attention enough to get the big stories and know what is going on in the world. Back when I was moving away from the pro-choice mentality and into the pro-life mentality I was single and living alone and would often watch the news in the morning before work. But I had never heard of this March for Life before. Not once.

So when I finally did hear about it I was shocked to see how big it was. We're not talking about a small march of about a 1000 people from the region around DC, we're talking hundreds of thousands from across the whole country! Amazing!! And the best quote I've ever seen about the demographics of the March for Life came from NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan who was in DC for the 37th Annual March for Life (2010) and commented on what she saw afterwards:
"I just thought, my gosh, they are so young," Keenan recalled. "There are so many of them and they are so young." [source: sba-list.org]
The March for Life estimated it had about 400,000 activists participate in the March for Life that year.

For me, witnessing that the pro-life movement was not just talk but was full of people who were activists on many levels had a huge impact on me. I recognized a real love for the human person (the unborn babies, the mothers, the fathers) that I had not witnessed in other circles. The pro-choice movement put all its care into the woman (they wouldn't call her a mother) and no one else. Many of them did care, but didn't look at the big pictures. That was me, too. Hearts are in the right place, but are clouded over by terminology that prevents one from seeing the full picture.

I would say at this point in my life I was more willing to take on the label of Pro-life than I had ever been before. The clouds were lifting, the scales were falling from my eyes, and I began to see the baby as a person. I still had questions and was still unclear on the difficult circumstances, but I was willing to take the leap of faith and declare that I stood with the pro-life movement.

I think one more post is in order to kind of tie this series up. So stay tuned for more. (Hopefully it won't take me as long to get it out as this one did.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 19

Hubby with his boys
I'm going to be honest ... it's been a rough week. Between being sick, one child being sick, and the presidential election, I'm just glad the week is over. I'm still not feeling well as I write this, but I am home alone in an empty house. Ahhhhh! So, no better time than the present to reflect on the blessings this week also contained.

Wednesday I got the phone call at work that one of the boys wasn't feeling well. I called my husband because he had the van with the car seats. He went and picked up the sick boy and took him home. But the question was, how do we get healthy boy at the end of the day? I had spiritual direction right after work (which was why Hubby had the van in the first place) and he had a meeting at 4 PM that he really needed to be at.

I gave him two options:
1. I cancel my appointment for spiritual direction and come home by 3:30 so he can go back to work. He could take the van and pick up the healthy child on his way home.
*OR*
2. I keep my appointment and he misses his meeting, I come home at lunch to switch cars and after spiritual direction I can pick up the healthy child on my way home.

I fully expected Hubby to choose option 1. I was surprised when he chose option 2 instead. He seemed concerned that this was a meeting that he had to be at, and yet he chose the option that meant he had to miss this important meeting. I was willing to reschedule my thing, but I wanted him to make this decision since either way, he had to leave work to begin with because he had the only car that could transport our children.

I don't know if he chose the way he did because he felt like my spiritual direction was more important or if he decided that as long as he was home he might as well stay there? Either way, I recognized that he gave up something, completely changing his plans, for me and my plans. It made me smile because he made a sacrifice for me, small as it might have been in the grand scheme of things, and it allowed me to continue working on my spiritual growth.

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful man you have given to me.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Letter to my Children Regarding their Future

Dear Peter and Ethan,

Source: morgueFile
A couple of days ago your father and I began to teach you both about the awesome privilege we have in this great country of ours to vote for our leaders. We bundled you up, strapped you into your stroller, and walked across the park to cast our vote for several of our leaders. You won't remember this experience, but one day you'll appreciate that we wanted to take you along for this very important event.

It's my belief that this election was one of the most important elections I have ever voted in. In many ways I was voting for your future and the future of all those to come after you. You see, this country has started to lose its way. It's a sad realization and, as your mother, it scares me for what is in store for your future.

One day we'll teach you about the sacredness of human life. As a child you'll grasp this concept and understand it better than many adults. Most children know instinctively that a baby in the womb is a human baby and deserves protection and love, not death. Children are often wiser than adults. Today, in 2012, we have many leaders who don't value the life of unborn children. It is incomprehensible. You'll probably ask me about it one day in your innocent, childlike way and I'll be lost for words to explain it. For there's no way to explain how so many people, who should know better, can think it's okay to commit murder in the womb.

In this week's election our great country re-elected a man who has no qualms about promoting the  killing of unborn children in the womb. Not only that, he believes that federal money should be used to accomplish the goal of making this so-called "service" available to all women. And to top it off, he also thinks this "service" should be available at all hospitals and 100% covered by all insurance companies, including those hospitals and insurance companies founded on Catholic moral principles.

What I want you, my children, to understand is that I love our country. America is a great place to be and we are blessed to have been born here. Billions of people around the world will never know the blessings we have. I want you to grow up to love your country and fight hard to keep her a land of blessings for many. But I also want you to learn that no matter what, you are a Catholic first.

You are a Catholic because we baptized you into the faith. We took a vow to raise you in the Catholic faith and we take that vow seriously. As Catholics our destination is not here on earth, it's the Kingdom of Heaven. We are made to be with Jesus Christ. This means that we may experience suffering and persecution here on earth, even in this country of so many blessings. I fear that the sufferings and persecutions will only increase and that you'll bear the brunt of this more so than I ever will.

As a Catholic it's important for you to understand that you have a right to Freedom of Religion in this country. This means that the government is not supposed to tell you how you can practice your religion. This means that the government is not supposed to tell you that you can't practice your religion. And this means that the government is not supposed to tell you what aspects of your well-formed conscience you need to compromise on. Unfortunately, with the outcome of this election, I fear that the government may be interfering in these matters more and more.

This week's election was a very important one for our nation. Unfortunately this election revealed that this great country is losing its moral fiber. Your father and I and many of our friends will continue to fight for the unborn children that would have been your peers and we'll fight to be able to practice our faith in our daily lives. I don't want you to one day be standing in a country that is falling apart and wonder why we, your parents, didn't do more.

I pray that we'll win our fight and not pass it on to you and future generations. 

May God bless the United States of America.

Source: morgueFile
This post has been linked up at the Catholic Bloggers Network, November round-up.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 18

God has blessed my husband and I in an amazing way. It's hard not to smile at this:


And sometimes, this is all I need to remind myself of His love for me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 17

Andrea del Verrocchio, c. 1475,
public domain
I am currently reading the Gospel of Luke. Each night I sit with it and read some part of it, whether that is one small passage or verse or a whole chapter. Depends on what strikes me. As I read this week this particular passage made me smile:

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. (Luke 3, 21-22)

The image of Jesus being baptized and having the Holy Spirit descend upon Him is one that pretty much everyone is familiar with. I was particularly struck with the small phrase "and was praying." Jesus prayed a lot. For some reason I don't think about that fact much. Up into reading this more carefully there were maybe two places in Scripture that I could point to where Jesus was praying.

Goes to show how unfamiliar I am with Scripture.

I like the image of Jesus praying. It's a very important reminder to me that I need to be doing this more. A lot more! Jesus prayed a lot and He was God. Obviously I need to be praying much, much more myself.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me how I can better know You.

Friday, October 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes, vol. 49


~1~

When did my babies become toddlers? Seriously, they walk, they climb up stairs, they talk babble a lot, they are starting to use some sign language, they can tell you what sound a fish makes, and they can point to their noses, ears, mouths, heads, and bellies. I'm amazed at the little persons they are becoming. And I love it! As much as I loved them as babies, I really do like seeing the tiny bits of independence starting to develop in them. So cool!!

And I'm going to have to get a video of the fish sounds, there are just no words to describe it.

~2~

And speaking of the boys and their cuteness ... Ethan suddenly has a great love for dogs. He is fascinated with them! I'm not sure where it came from. We do not have a dog. But he will make some sort of sound when you ask him what a dog says. He loves, loves, LOVES a book we have (thanks, Nanny!) called Doggies. Hubby isn't too fond of this book because it has no plot. Plot is important to Hubby, not so much to the almost 17 month old. There is a reason why the subtitle is "a counting and barking book." Just saying.

There is also a toy dog at daycare that Ethan always has with him when I get there in the afternoon. And he always puts it away in the basket before we leave. This boy loves dogs!!

I've already told Hubby that he's handling the "no, we aren't getting a dog" line when this boy is older and desperately wants a dog of his own.

~3~

This past Saturday was our anniversary. We've been married 5 years now! I can't believe it's been that long and yet, I also can't believe that it's only been 5 years! We celebrated with dinner on the  KY Dinner Train. It was a lot of fun and the food was really good. My foodie husband even said the food was good and it was worth doing again. And let me tell you, that is not a compliment he gives out readily! If you ever find yourself in that part of KY and you're looking for something nice to do, we'd recommend it.

~4~

I have had a very busy week and thus did not do any blogging. I'm hoping to remedy this situation next week. I like blogging if for no other reason than it gives me a chance to write and think out ideas. That didn't happen this week. But that's life, sometimes we have to let some things go in order to do other things. That was my week this week.

~5~

I just realized too that I still haven't done part 3 of my series on why I am pro-life. Oops! It really has been one of those weeks. If you haven't been following, check out part 1 here and part 2 over here. I promise part 3 will get published before too long. Really.

~6~


Halloween is next week! Already. Where did the time go? I went out earlier this week to find a costume for one of the boys (we had something already for one, just needed the other) and I was amazed at how difficult it was to find costumes. Do people buy their costumes as soon as the calendar hits October? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I did see a Christmas shopping commercial on TV last night and it's not even November yet.

By the way, I was looking for a dog costume. Couldn't find one and didn't want to order something online. But I found something just as cute and the boy is too young to understand ... or care. At this age it's all for the parents anyway. And I'm okay with that.

~7~

Finally, I'd like to wrap up this post with a request for your prayers. I have two friends that could really use some extra prayers right now and for as long as you're willing to pray for them. Both have recently lost their spouse. Both deaths were completely unexpected. Both were way too young and leave behind very young children. One of my friends is now without her husband raising her twin 6 year old children. The other is now without his wife, raising his four boys ages 1-10, and looking for a different job, one that will allow him to be home with his family more than his current job does. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Have a nice weekend and go visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 16

This week I saw the love of Christ shining through someone in a way that I don't think I ever have before. I couldn't do anything but smile, he had such a contagious glow about him as he talked about Christ and the importance of Him in our lives. I was truly in awe of the deep love I could feel coming from this person as we talked.

To give you a little bit of context, I started spiritual direction this week with a priest that I have known for a couple years or so. Spiritual direction is something I have thought about doing on and off over the past several years. I would think about it, start asking around about it some, drop it, start thinking about it again, and so on. I finally decided to ask a priest I knew. I went to daily Mass one day, deciding that if he was there that day I would try and catch him after Mass just to see if it was a possibility.

But when I went to Mass that day a different priest was there, someone I also knew some. No big deal, there was always email or I'd see him another time. The during the homily I heard a small voice inside me tell me that this was the priest I needed to be seeking spiritual direction from, not the one I was planning on asking. So I did, and now a few months later we finally managed to set up a time to get started.

This was definitely the right choice for me. I can say that with certainty after just one session. To see this priest talk about Christ in such a loving way did so much for my heart. I felt like Christ Himself was shining through this man across the table from me. 

And all I could do was smile!

Now it's your turn: How did you witness Christ in your life this week? Comment below or link up your own blog post.

Image source morgueFile

Friday, October 19, 2012

Children and Faith

Today you can find me over at Catholic Sistas. I am sharing about my awe in the intuitive nature children have of God and the spiritual world. Here's a small snippet:
As we begin the Year of Faith, I thought this was a good time to remind ourselves of how that childlike acceptance of faith and the spiritual realm really looks. Only through the eyes of children can we do that. Some of my friends graciously agreed to share some of their stories with me.
Although the post is mine, the stories are what really make the post what it is. I can't take credit for any of that! Thank you to all my friends who shared the stories they had of the faith of their children.

Read more at What our Children can teach us about Faith.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I am Pro-Life: Reason #2

This is part 2 of a series of as yet to be determined parts on why I am Pro-Life. I have not always been pro-life and I hope my witness can be of interest to others who are on the fence, do not have a strong opinion, or feel that there are some cases in which abortion should be allowed. I hope this series can be of help for anyone questioning the pro-choice agenda. You can read part 1 here.


March for Life 2012, Washington Post
In my last post of this series I said that my former pro-choice position was based on emotional arguments only. It was finally taking the time to actually listen to the pro-life side that started having an effect on how I viewed the issue intellectually. But that was only the very first step. To say that one side is too emotional and the other too intellectual creates a simplicity that does not exist. What I want to talk about here is the emotional aspect of the pro-life side.

Reason #2 why I am pro-life: I witnessed a passion for the issue that I had never seen before.

Demonstrations and rallies and letter campaigns and so much more were things of the past to me. They happened during a time period before I was born. I didn't know anyone who did these kinds of things. There didn't seem to be a reason for doing these things because the rights that had been fought for were now laws on the books. What was left?

I knew plenty of people who were pro-choice, who believed in a woman's right to choose, but none of them had to do anything about it. For my generation, those laws have always been there. I guess there really was no reason to have a passion for it.

But as I started meeting more pro-life people, talking to them, listening to them, asking questions of them, and witnessing their actions, I saw a passion that was infectious. I saw people who went to demonstrations and rallies and wrote letters to the editor. I saw people who spoke up in what they believed in and challenged others who (like me) didn't have a strong conviction. I saw people who could speak intelligently on the issue, make sense, and show a compassion for women that I had not witnessed among the pro-choice crowd.

That kind of passion speaks volumes. And it did for me.

Over 200 THOUSAND people attending a pro-life rally in Washington, D.C. every January on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade? How come I had never heard of that before? I was stunned!

Plus there was so much more. The pro-choice side focused on one thing: abortion. That wasn't true on the pro-life side. This side of the coin focuses on so much more and it all goes hand in hand: euthanasia, the death penalty, and much more. All those issues along with fighting for the rights of children to be born were like different pieces of a puzzle that all fit together to make a whole. It gave more meaning and depth to the pro-life movement.

What impressed me was that no one had to sit me down and try to convince me of their side. Just listening and witnessing the passion for this issue was all I needed to get my wheels spinning and start reconsidering my convictions. Actions really do speak louder than words. And then you find out more:

Norma McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, converted to Catholicism and now fights for the repeal of the law for which she is named.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, became pro-life and spent the rest of his life fighting for the rights of the unborn.

These are just two examples of many, many more. I started wondering what convinced these people, people who had a profound impact on current law, to completely change their tunes and fight on with the pro-life movement.

And they had a passion for it. That was obvious. You have to have a passion for it to give up friends and family to fight for something you believe in. Plus, in all my reading of liberal, pro-women magazines and other literature I had never once ran across anyone who converted to the pro-choice side after being well-known, passionate pro-lifers. Why did it always seem to be one way and not the other?

At this point in my journey I was definitely on the road to conversion myself. I could no longer call myself pro-choice, but I was still hesitant to call myself pro-life. I appreciated the passion I saw for the rights of the unborn, but I wasn't ready to attend a rally myself yet. I needed more convincing.

Stay tuned for more in part three of my story.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Ten: Jumping on Board

My stop watch is going and here I am. This is totally off the top of my head, no planning, no nothing. I had to do this in graduate school, although I don't know that I was quite as rigorous about it. In other words, I didn't use a stopwatch. But I really wanted to try this and so I'm finally doing it.

I also wanted to do it because I have two blog posts I have to write {this NOT being on of them} and I'm feeling blank. A frustrating place for someone who wants to call herself a writer and is facing two deadlines. But hey, writing for ten minutes like this means I'm writing something and maybe I'll have a few brainstorms in the process.

So let me tell you what I am trying to write. Why not, I have nothing better to do anyway. Hahaha!

First there is the series of posts I started last week which I know left some readers hanging. I don't want anyone to forget and so I really do need to write a second post in the series and get it up this week. So this is a self-imposed deadline. Still, I don't like to keep people hanging. I know what my topic is, I just have to sit down and do it.

But more importantly, I have a post due for Catholic Sistas. Due to publish on Friday morning, which means I technically have to have it set up and ready to go by Wednesday afternoon. I know my topic here as well and this is where I need a little brainstorming. I want to explore the spiritual world from the perspective of children. In 1200 words or less. So I'm not going to go very deep, but I want to present a few things.

I got this idea from a couple different places. First of all around the time of the Feast of the Guardian Angels friends were sharing stories about their guardian angels. If they had seen them, if they knew their name, ways in which they are aware of their guardian angels, etc. The most fascinating stories were those from their children or from when they were children. Then the Gospel reading from a few weeks back from the Gospel of Mark when Jesus tells the apostles to let the children come to him got me thinking too. I struck me in a different way than it usually does. Both of those things combined along with a few other stories friends of mine had shared with me put this idea in my head.

I guess what I'm really looking to do is present these ideas and stories and ask readers for their own experiences. Now I just have to get that written in a coherent way.

And with that it looks like I've used up my ten minutes. Great exercise!

This post is being done under the inspiration of Rachel Balducci at testosterhome.net. I will link up her Tuesday Ten post here once she has it up. But go visit her awesome blog anyway!
Post is up: Tuesday Ten at testosterhome.net

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wave of Light 2012


It is once again time that time when we remember the babies we have lost too soon. I hope you will join me and families all over the world in remembering these babies today during the Wave of Light.

Whether a family lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion, premature birth or SIDS, or some other situation that led to infant death, they dearly miss their child or children and it is good to take time to honor their memory. These families will never forget their children and remember them each and every day. But today is a good time for everyone to take an hour and remember these children.

How can you participate? It's easy, just read the graphic below and visit www.october15th.com for more information.


Please join us in remembering our babies and help to make miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant loss less of a verboten topic.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 15

Image source: morgueFile
How did you feel God's presence in your life this week? Or how did you feel closer to God in the last week? I was very busy this week and received some incredibly sad news about a friend and the thought of doing this post was not at all on my priority list.

But then, very early Thursday morning (see Take #2 and 4 on this post) I stepped outside and looked up and was caught by surprise. It was still very dark out; it had been a clear night. And the sky was covered in little bitty stars. It caught me off guard, I think, because I hadn't really looked up at the night sky in a very long time. Something I used to like to do a lot.

It made me smile and it made me think of the vastness of time and space, the indescribable creation God has placed before us, and just how small I am in it all. But despite my smallness I know God loves me. That made me smile even more.

I thanked God for putting me in a place where I could see something again that is always right there for me to see but that I hadn't taken the opportunity to see in a very long time. I definitely appreciated the quiet stillness of the early morning, the coldness in the air, and the beauty of the sky more than I had in the past. God's beauty was everywhere that morning. I'm so glad I got to experience it for a short time.

Now it's your turn! Comment below or link up your own blog post. I'm looking forward to reading your experiences with God this week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 48


~1~

I realized this week that I have to up date my vocabulary. Well, I don't have to, but I was watching my boys walk around their playroom and I sadly concluded that it was time. They are no longer babies. Time to start calling them toddlers.

But, of course, they will always be my babies. [Shhhh! Don't tell them that.]

~2~

4:45 AM is very early. Especially when you don't get to bed until midnight. And I tried, I really did! I tried so hard to get to bed earlier. Dang! 4:45 AM is E-A-R-L-Y.

~3~

And why did I get to bed so late? I think I have a problem. Here it is: I must do all laundry before packing for a trip. Any trip. Even one that is only 3 days short. Does anyone else do this? And it wasn't just making sure that I had everything I needed. I even did the boys' laundry and I didn't need to pack for them. Just me. I'm the only one on this trip. Anyone else have this need to do all the laundry before packing?

~4~

Thursday's early morning start was because of a plan to leave around 6 AM to drive to one of the suburbs on the west side of Chicago and get there in time for meetings at 1 PM ... central time, thankfully. We left slightly later than planned, but made good time. Even with two stops (breakfast and lunch), we got to the hotel and into our meetings just after 1:00. I was quite impressed with us.

We/us, by the way, would be myself and a colleague, we were traveling together.

~5~

Let me tell you one problem with traveling with a colleague, especially one that you like. You start talking and you forget to look at the gas gauge. Yep, that would be me. Luckily, we did not run out of gas. But there we were on I-80 when I looked down and saw the needle right at "E" and my little gas light on. I about panicked! Did it just come on? Has it been on for a while? I had no idea! And why is it there are gas stations everywhere except when you need one? We had just crossed into Illinois and I took the first exit I saw that looked promising (no gas/food/lodging signs anywhere). I think we were driving on fumes because I put 10.3 gallons in my little car. I think it has an 11 gallon tank. I am just so thankful we found a gas station when we did!

Correction: While talking to Hubby last night he informed me that the car does not have 11 gallons in it. It has 10.5. Definitely driving on fumes. Eeek!

~6~

After my afternoon meeting I had a break and ran into some professional colleagues in the hotel lobby. Right away I was asked for updated pictures of the boys. They got passed around and everyone started asking me the usual questions. Then someone asked me how I could be away from such cuties for this conference. I impressed myself with my response:

"It's hard, but I can leave them because I know my husband is great and does a great job with them."

And the best part is that it is all true. He is a great dad and takes great care of them when I have to be away. I'm a very lucky girl.

~7~

Thursday evening of this conference is always put on by the local group hosting us. This year they brought in a professor of the steelpan as well as a composer who is on faculty at one of the local universities. The presentation on the steelpan was amazing. And then to see snippets of the concerto the composing faculty member wrote was equally amazing. I thought it would be fun to close out this Quick Takes with a clip from you tube of Liam Teague and his amazing steelpan playing. The steelpan is a much more versatile instrument than even I knew. So here's Liam on steelpan playing a traditional western European piece arranged for steelpan:



For more Quick Takes, don't forget to go visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why I Am Pro-Life: Reason #1

This is part 1 of a series of as yet to be determined parts on why I am Pro-Life. I have not always been pro-life and I hope my witness can be of interest to others who are on the fence, do not have a strong opinion, or feel that there are some cases in which abortion should be allowed. I hope this series can be of help for anyone questioning the pro-choice agenda.

As I contemplated how exactly to begin this series of posts, I couldn't decide how intentionally forceful I should make the very first post. In the end I decided that going for a big punch wasn't important. What was important was that I start and that I share from the heart. So I encourage you to read this post and to stick around for the others, especially if this one does not speak to you. There will be more.

Why am I Pro-Life? It's a good question because I have not always been a champion for the rights of the unborn. It saddens me to think of who I once was. But at the same time I have had several years of asking questions, studying, and listening to others, years I wouldn't trade for anything. I feel like now my position is much more a part of me than if this was something i had just always accepted without question.

And for those who might be like me ... which is stubborn, by the way ... I encourage you to simply listen.

Reason #1 why I am pro-life: I listened.

It's such a simple thing. And yet we (society in general) really don't know how to listen anymore. We hear lots of things ... but do we really listen?

I held an opinion because it made the most sense to me from an emotional perspective. I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into it. I just knew though that abortion had to be a choice that could not be taken away. The problem was that I had no real reason for believing that other than that it just made sense. Had I been challenged on an intellectual level, I don't know that I would have been able to make a solid case for legal abortion.

Then one day I began volunteering to play with a music group at my church. I was just embarking on my journey back to the Church and thought this would be a good way to do something in the church, meet other people, and learn some about the faith. The problem was that I still wasn't listening. Rehearsals mostly consisted of talk about the music and how the music fit into the liturgy (I learned a lot about the beauty of the Mass from that experience) but every now and again the talk would veer off into something else. You have to understand, this was a small group, about 6-8 of us at any given time. Off topic discussions happen frequently in small groups.

There was one person in the group, who also happened to be a doctor, who was very pro-life. If he got on the topic he could talk your ear off. For a long while I tended to zone out and not listen. I think I knew, probably subconsciously, that if I had really listened to him, he could have easily shattered my perspective.

Thankfully, God doesn't give up. Eventually, I did start to take notice. Certain points started making sense. I found myself listening just a very tiny bit more. I'd go home and search for sources to justify my own position and come up with either nothing substantial or websites to groups that didn't seem to have Church approval (and they didn't, I later discovered).

Listening to this person pushed me to start thinking about this issue on a more intellectual level. The emotional reasons for supporting abortion easily crumble when you have to start putting facts to it. But that is not to say that there is not an emotional side to the pro-life position.

On the contrary, I was surprised that there was much, much more to the pro-life position than I had originally thought. But I will save that for the next post: Reason #2.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 14

God's love blesses me in so many ways. Despite a very busy week, lots on my plate, and feeling like I was always behind on something ... several things also came together for me.

I can feel God's love through the many friendships I have. I'm amazed that I can "hangout" with a group of women I've only ever known through the computer screen and have a great time! Even if we were talking business. But our Catholic faith brings us together, binds us in a way that I've never had a friendship bound before, and our common love for God and Jesus makes our mission and our friendship just work. What an amazing gift God has given me in these friendships with other faithful Catholic women, most of whom I may never meet in person. At least in this life.

And I do have some pretty awesome friends right here at home too. We too are bound by our common Catholic faith as well as the pain and grief of infertility and pregnancy loss. I got together on Friday evening with a few of these women to have a little mom prayer time together. We ended up mostly talking and not getting to the prayer time, but that's okay. We will the next time.

All of this just reminds me that I can often find God's love around me in the people He places in my life, no matter how busy life gets. Near and far, my friendships with other Catholic women consistently remind me of God's love for me.

Thank you God for the amazing friendships you bring into my life!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

On Air Once Again Discussing Football

Once again I am going to be on a local program on the local Catholic Radio station. And you can tune in and listen if you like! The topic this time will be sports. Yes, on a Catholic radio show. And yes, I will actually be talking sports.

It's definitely going to be different from the last show. To say the least.

The show will be at 5pm Eastern Time on Friday Oct. 5. You can listen in locally at 1380 AM or 94.9 FM. If you are not local, you can go to Real Life Radio and click on the "Listen Live" button to hear the show.

The original plan was to do this show last Friday, the day before my Alma Mater was going to be in town to play against the university here, who also just happens to be my employer. It would have been nice to do the show then, before the game happened, but some changes caused us to move the date to this Friday instead. So now we'll be talking about a game that already happened. Honestly, for me, this is better. I like football, I'm a big fan of my team, but I don't know stats, forget names, and can't remember details of past years. Even the years I attended games regularly as a member of the marching band. But I can easily talk about a game that I watched just one week prior.

Anyway, now that the game has happened, I feel like I have more to talk about. And I'm hoping that maybe we'll also talk about some other things, besides sports.

Tune in if you can. It should be a fun show!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Respect Life Month Plans

This October for Respect Life month I would like to do a few reflections on my conversion to becoming pro-life. I don't yet have a plan in mind, but I have some ideas swirling in my head. Before the month is out I hope to publish at least a couple posts on this topic.

I feel it is a perfect time for me to be discussing this. Respect Life Month will end just days before a very important election for our country. The Life issues are incredibly important in this election. Maybe during the next month there will be others who will have some conversion experiences as well.

I don't know what the individual Catholic Sistas ink slingers have planned for their posts over on that wonderful blog, but I am willing to bet there will be some appropriate posts over there for Respect Life Month. So don't forget to check them out too.

In the meantime, I leave you with this image that I saw on Facebook today. It's a lot to think about:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 13

The landscaping around Mary has completely changed
but I haven't had a chance to get a new picture yet.
Still, I love this statue!
I left my office on Friday just after lunch and as I walked to my car in the pouring rain, balancing the umbrella, a couple bags, and my water bottle, I looked over at the Mary statue in the side garden of the Newman Center and pondered what God wanted of me right now, at this time in my life. Did He want something from me? Or maybe He had a lesson for me I am supposed to be learning? What, I wondered, was I not seeing that God wanted me to see?

I know God is with me all the time. Intellectually, I know and understand this and completely, faithfully, accept it. I know His presence is in my life and in the people's lives all around me. But I often feel as if I miss seeing Him. 

These thoughts flitted in and out of my mind the rest of the day. How is God working in my life right now? I'm not sure I can answer that question. And the problem is that I have very little practice at answering that question.

For the first 26 years or more of my life I really didn't think about God's presence in it at all. I have always been a believer, I have never knowingly rejected Him, but He certainly took a backseat in my life for many years.

In hindsight I can see how God worked in my life and I've acknowledged that many times in various posts. But it is the present, the day-in and day-out of living and acknowledging God's work in my life as it is happening. I don't expect to recognize it all the time, but right now it is never. 

So here we are at the 13th installment of these "Saturday Smiles" posts and I am struggling. This will always be a struggle for me, I know. I'm okay with that. But I keep hoping I'll get just a teensy bit better. 

It's a work in progress. I'm a work in progress!

Nevertheless, despite these deep thoughts and my doubts of my own abilities, God has given me plenty to smile about: a wonderful family, family and friends that want to see us when we are passing through town, the ability to take a week off to visit family and take a vacation, wonderful friends in my life, and the ability to attend Mass in any city and have it be the same Mass as if we were at home.

Now you tell me: Do you recognize God's presence in your life? How did you this week? 

Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 47


~1~

Just before leaving for our vacation I learned that I had won a book from a giveaway the amazing Sarah Reinhard had up on her blog. I was so excited because I never win anything! The book is The Universal Monk by John Michael Talbot and I'm looking forward to reading it. I even told Sarah that maybe I'd do a review here in this space. We shall see. 

~2~

On our vacation we had a little stowaway. His name is Flat Cat and he managed to get a couple pictures of himself:
Here he is on the beach.

And another on our balcony. Lovely view!

~3~

Flat Cat also met some nice opponents on his travels:
Flat Cat and a kind UT fan

Hanging out with Cocky

~4~

This has been the weirdest week. It has gone by fast while at the same time it felt like it was just creeping along. Getting back from vacation and going right to work first thing the next morning has been rough. We still haven't been food shopping and several bags are still sitting around in the foyer waiting to be put away. Usually nothing sits for more than a day or two. We're going on five days here. That's a lot for me!! So in that respect it's been a slow week as I try to plug along and make it to a day when I can get home stuff done. Yet at the same time I kept thinking it was a day later than it actually was. Wednesday felt like Thursday, Thursday felt like Friday. Maybe that was wishful thinking. So glad it is finally Friday now!

~5~

So someone **coughLynncough** asked me for video of the boys walking. Need proof?? LOL! No worries, I wanted to anyway so I could remember the cute balance-walking from this age. After several takes I finally got one that has both boys doing some walking. Sorry for the motion of the camera, I'm still new at videography.


~6~

So now that the boys are walking and both convertible car seats are in the car, I have no infant carrier any longer to carry one of them into daycare with. It's been interesting, to say the least. The stairs are the biggest challenge. Once I get them both out of the car I usually carry Ethan and hold Peter's hand so he can walk beside me. If I'm parked right near the door I'll let both of them walk to just inside. But once inside we have a flight of stairs. One morning this week I had Ethan in my arms and Peter walking beside me. He's pretty good at climbing the stairs on his hands and knees, so I was going to let him do that. But he was holding my hand and wouldn't let go. Next thing I know he's trying to step up the first stair!! Being that I only had one hand available and he seemed certain that if he could walk he could walk up stairs (!!), it took some effort to keep him upright. Next thing I know his little body is swinging around on one foot as a pivot point. It took all my strength to not drop Ethan and keep Peter balanced so he didn't fall. Not to mention trying to keep myself from laughing at the sight of Peter swinging around on one foot!

Finally, he managed to get both feet on the ground and I was able to get my hand loose from his grasp. I scooped him up by the waist and carried him the rest of the way up.

Lesson learned: Do not let little boy think he is suddenly capable of taking on stairs like a big person!

~7~

One last thing. I may have mentioned to a few people that I was going to be on the local Catholic radio station again today. The topic this time was going to be the USC vs. UK game which is Saturday. [Yes, it is a Catholic radio station.] But due to some unexpected circumstances there was a change in plans. So instead I'll be on next Friday. I'm sure we'll still discuss the game, but since it will be a past event at that point, I'm not sure if that is all we'll talk about or not. So stay tuned. I'll share more here if I get any further information between now and then. In the meantime: GO GAMECOCKS!!

For more 7 Quick Takes, check our Jen Fulwiler's blog Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vacation Update

We left at noon on Friday Sept. 14 and returned home about 8pm on Sunday September 23. Nine and a half days away! It was a long time to be away, but definitely a fun time.

Visiting with family, visiting with friends, spending time at the beach, the pool, and just taking it easy. All of it was great! I loved that we got to see so many people in the course of this trip!

The boys travel pretty well, but they certainly do get tired of sitting their car seats for long periods of time. We tried giving them some breaks, but you can only do that so much before you've added on a few too many hours to the trip. So there were some rough moments, but it was all worth it.

That first Friday of travel we stopped in Asheville, NC to stay the night with my cousin and his family. It was the first time I got to meet his two teenage daughters. We had a great time visiting and catching up.

The Saturday we drove an hour south and stopped in Spartenburg, SC to visit with Hubby's aunt and uncle and one of his cousins. We had a lovely lunch and it was fun to take a break and visit with them. The boys got to play with some new toys and were very intrigued by the cat.

We got to Hilton Head Island in time to stop for dinner Saturday, then picked up some milk at a grocery store, got checked in to the condo, and put the boys to bed. We were exhausted.

I posted some pictures last Wednesday and I have several more that I hope to get off my camera soon. The boys had fun and it was great to see them interacting with my family. They also decided that this was the week to start walking!! They still prefer crawling to get around, but we do have walkers!! Peter has gotten quite good. He can stop and regain his balance, he can turn around, and he can walk a fair distance on his own. Ethan isn't far behind. And they love it too! So much laughing at themselves and what they are doing. It's a hoot to watch!

Our trip back was done in two parts as well. We left Saturday morning and headed to Columbia where we stopped for lunch and to pick up some Gamecock gear (watch for pictures). We drove another hour north and met up with my college roommate for an hour of visiting. Then headed to Greenville, SC from there to stay the night with some other friends from college. We had a great time visiting with everyone. We all went to Mass together Sunday morning, took some pictures of the kids all together (their 3 and our 2), and then hit the road for a long drive back home.

Other interesting events of the week:
  • Cutting my finger on my razor that first Friday night
    • (Wasn't using it, just reaching in my bag for something else. Razor had no cap on it.)
  • The touch screen on my phone stopped working 
    • (Don't call or text me, not worth it)
  • Walking boys!! 
    • (Yes, I know I already mentioned that one ... but hey, can you blame me?)
  • Enjoying Nutella gelato
    • (I want to try the pizza cone next time. And more gelato!)
  • Watching the boys fascination with babies and animals grow
  • The immediate love the boys had with the Cocky pillow pets Peter's godparents got for them. 
    • (They both wanted to hold them the whole drive home on Sunday.)
  • Trying to find a fast food place that serves spaghetti in areas where there are very few food options 
    • (KFC needs to start selling spaghetti, just saying.)

I'm sure there is much more, but it's hard to remember everything. Hopefully I'll be able to grab some time tomorrow evening to get the pictures off my camera and will be able to share a few here soon!

And as much fun as this vacation was, it is definitely nice to be home!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 12

I'm on vacation this week, so this post is being done in advance. While I take this week off I will be enjoying God's creation, visiting with various family members and friends, and enjoying some relaxation time with my three guys. And there will be wine.

I know there will be plenty of smiles all around.

So in my absence I hope you will share with a link-up post or in the comments: What has made you smile this week??

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Beach edition

Fun at the pool.

Ethan, aka Mr. Serious

Peter, chillin'

Ready for the beach!

Peter getting buried with his cousin

Mr. Serious digging in the sand

The boys on the sand car thing